Review: The fastest 9600GT
EVGA has four 9600 GT series cards and it was generous enough to let us have a go at the fastest one. This card's GPU is clocked at 740MHz and it's currently the fastest out of the box OCed 9600 GT on the market. As we've said, EVGA has three more 9600 GT cards in its offer, depending on how much cash you're willing to cough up. There's the reference 9600 GT at 650MHz, the 9600 GT Superclocked at 675MHz and the KO version clocked at 700MHz.
The memory on the SSC card runs at a high 1950MHz, 150MHz over the reference 1800MHz. Shader clock was also bumped up to 1835MHz. Although it sports much higher clocks than the reference card, EVGA's SSC is still pretty much a reference design.
EVGA chose to stick to Nvidia's stock cooler on this card. As we've already tested several 9600 GT cards we can say that this is not a bad choice, as even the stock cooler has enough muscle to cool the G94 GPU and it's quiet, too. It's a single slot design, similar to the one used on 8800 GT cards. It has a copper base, copper heatpipe, while the fins are aluminum. We measured an idle temperature of 46°C and under load it went up to 68°C. The temperatures are similar to those measured on other 9600 GT cards, but they are a couple of degrees higher, thanks to the overclocked core. The fan spun up to 53 percent of its maximum speed but it was still very quiet.
The G94 GPU is a 65nm part and its architecture is similar to that of the G92, which is the heart of 8800GT and GTS(G92) cards. Thanks to this, the price/performance ratio is very good and the 9600GT is placed somewhere between the 8600 series and the 8800 GT cards. It's supposed to be a replacement for the 8600 series, but it's a much more serious card than any 8600.
With its 64 stream processors, the G9600 GT has twice the firepower of the 8600 GT with 32 stream processors. For comparison, the latest incarnation of the 8800 GTS has 128 stream processors. With its 256-bit memory interface the 9600 GT offers much more bandwidth than the previous 128-bit 8600 generation and it performs almost twice as well as the 8600.
With less Shader processors the G94 is much smaller than the G92, reducing the surface area of the chip, the number of transistors, TDP and ultimately the price.
The card requires additional power via a 6-pin PCIe power connector which is easily accessible. The good thing about the 9600 GT is HDMI support through an adapter. In order to get the sound to the HDMI out you will have to connect a small S/PDIF cable to the card. The black S/PDIF pinhead connector is placed left of the SLI connector on the card.
Since the introduction of the 9600 GT, things have heated up in the mainstream market segment. We've already seen that the 8800 GT is still a bit faster, but the Radeon HD3870 is a very close match, both in terms of performance and price. It's really not an easy choice to make.
Nvidia's Geforce 9600 GT is a DirectX 10 card with Shader Model 4.0 OpenGL2.1 and PCI Express 2.0 support. It has two DVI dual link outs as well as an S-Video/HDTV out. The second generation Pure Video HD engine is supposed to provide high picture and video quality.
The box is pretty much standard, but we really don't understand why EVGA didn't emphasize the card's 740MHz clock in the design. True, an enthusiast will know that this is a highly overclocked SSC card, but many consumers will have no idea that this is the highest clocked 9600 GT on the market. No games are bundled with the card.